NEW YORK, Feb. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Stoli® Vodka, in partnership with the Key West Business Guild, today announced the return of The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic – North America's largest annual LGBT bartending competition. Mixologists across North America will demonstrate their talent and creativity as they vie to be named the 2016 Cocktail Classic Champion at the Grand Finale during Key West Pride 2016.
While showcasing their own authenticity and the spirit of the Key West community, participants from 15 cities are tasked to create an original cocktail using Stoli Vodka as their primary ingredient. Each contestant's cocktail will be evaluated by a panel of celebrity judges and 100 audience members on uniqueness, taste and presentation. The winner of each regional competition will go on to represent their city during the grand finale at Key West Pride in June 2016 where they will have the chance to compete for the title of 2016 Champion. In addition to being crowned the 2016 Champion, the winner will receive:
- $10,000 for charity
- 3-day all-expenses paid trip to Spain for Stoli's elit® Ibiza Weekend in September
- Ride in the Key West Pride Parade as Honorary Grand Marshall
- $500 Andrew Christian shopping spree
- Victory celebration and charity check presentation at champion's home bar
"I'm thrilled to be a part of Stoli Vodka's commitment to stand strong and proud with the global LGBT community and to host the third consecutive Key West Cocktail Classic," stated Patrik Gallineaux, the National LGBT Ambassador for Stoli. "We are the only spirits brand to annually host an LGBT bartending competition that recognizes the creativity and ingenuity of the community's most talented mixologists. The Cocktail Classic's message and popularity has allowed us to expand our regional events to more cities and to increase our charitable contributions."
In partnership with the Key West Business Guild, an organization of LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses in Key West, the final competition will be hosted by Gallineaux and TV personality Jai Rodriguez. It will also feature a panel of celebrity judges including clothing designer Andrew Christian, legendary funnyman Bruce Vilanch, actress and singer LaToya London, and Key West personality and star of the annual New Year's Eve High Heel Drop, Sushi.
"Key West Pride is the perfect backdrop for the Cocktail Classic because it embodies the same spirit of family and unity that has been at the core of the LGBT community for decades," said Matt Hon, Executive Director of the Key West Business Guild. "We are excited to partner on the third Key West Cocktail Classic and to support Stoli's vision for empowering the LGBT community's talented and hardworking bartenders."
The cocktail classic will take place at 15 events in the following cities:
- Kickoff: New York, NY – February 24
- Dallas, TX – February 29
- Washington, DC – March 10
- San Diego, CA – March 18
- Atlanta, GA – March 24
- Denver, CO*
- Miami, FL – April 4
- Portland, OR – April 16
- Chicago, IL – April 20
- Vancouver, BC*
- Los Angeles, CA – April 30
- Boston, MA – May 3
- Toronto, ON*
- Philadelphia, PA – May 10
- San Francisco, CA*
- Finale: Key West, FL – June 11
A maximum of six bartenders will be selected to participate in each local event. For more information about the Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic including how to apply, rules, guidelines and the full schedule of events, visit www.gaycities.com/cocktailclassic.
As a long-time supporter of the LGBT community, Stoli Vodka believes they have a responsibility to spread the message of equality for all. Three years ago, The Stoli Key West Cocktail Classic was inspired by the unique legacy of LGBT bartenders and the role LGBT bars have played in the movement towards equality. Stoli Vodka is the only spirits brand to recognize these individuals and to empower future generations with an annual LGBT bartending competition.
*Event dates to be confirmed. Visit www.gaycities.com/cocktailclassic for regional competition updates.
About Stoli Group® USA, LLC
Stoli Group® USA, LLC is the North American subsidiary of SPI Group, recognized globally for pioneering heritage and the outstanding Stolichnaya® brand of premium vodkas. Since its inception in 2014, Stoli Group USA already boasts one of the largest domestic distribution networks in the U.S. and is a growing distributor of premium spirits, led by the flagship Stoli® Vodka Brand, its category-leading flavors including Ohranj®, Razberi®, Vanil®, Blueberi®, and the ultra-premium luxury vodka elit™ by Stolichnaya®. In October 2015, Stoli Group USA announced an exclusive distribution partnership with the best-selling American craft rum, Bayou Rum®. Considered a trailblazer in the vodka industry, Stolichnaya vodkas are bottled in Latvia and define the benchmark for quality with meticulously crafted liquid that meets the highest Alpha Spirit standard.
About Key West Business Guild
The mission of the Key West Business Guild is to promote LGBT travel to Key West through marketing and the promotion of specialty events; to support gay-owned, gay-managed, and gay-friendly businesses; to strengthen the Gay community's position within the local community by supporting relevant LGBT issues. The KWBG was founded in 1978 by 8 local gay business owners and has grown to approximately 400 members, which work together to continue efforts to brighten the rainbow over the island, an island now known as Gay Key West. Promotion of events, such as Key West Pride, Tropical Heat and Womenfest, has made Key West a year-round LGBT travel destination. For more information visit www.kwbgonline.org.
STOLI GROUP (USA), LLC PRESS CONTACT:
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SOURCE Stoli Group USA, LLC